Currently, I am conducting research that involves isolating and characterizing resistance gene analogs (RGAs) from highly resistant varieties of sweetpotato. Their discovery can potentially increase our understanding of how they function and greatly aid conventional sweetpotato breeding efforts for disease resistance. At present, we have obtained sequencing and bioinformatics results from three sweetpotato varieties; Resisto (a highly resistant), Porto Rico (a susceptible variety) and wild-type sweetpotato. We are currently preparing to conduct confirmation experiments on genes of interest and align their respective eIF4E’s for sequence polymorphisms and its isoforms.
Other significant interests include developing a sweetpotato cell suspension system for future in vitro viral replication and translation studies. We also have a current collaboration with an Ireland scientist to test a non-agro based transformation system on both sweetpotato and peanut. We are currently awaiting approval to receive the samples